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Platform Art, Inc. Sound Sculpture Installed In Harrell Family Sensory Garden At Bonnet Springs

Platform Art, Inc. Sound Sculpture Installed In Harrell Family Sensory Garden At Bonnet Springs

by James Coulter

Near the scenic shores of Bonnet Spring, within the Harrell Family Sensory Garden, a very peculiar sculpture will emerge from the landscape when it is moved to its permanent location in 2021.

Reminiscent of a treble clef symbol, the stainless steel sculpture incorporates natural vines, features reflective decorative elements and delicate chimes referencing the sense of sound. When the chimes blow in the wind, or are activated by curious hands, they’ll emit subtle sounds like gentle rain. The site-specific art piece integrates vegetation into the design, almost as if the sculpture is emerging from the landscape.

The Platform Art Sound Wall is the first sculpture representing one of the five senses for the Harrell Family Sensory Garden at Bonnet Springs Park in Lakeland. The public artwork is temporarily installed near the main entrance on George Jenkins Blvd. until construction is complete.

The sensory sculpture, a Platform Art, Inc. public art project, was gifted to Bonnet Springs Park as the first of a series of sculptures for the sensory garden. This important gift helps the park meets its mission statement of creating an environment that enhances the local community by enhancing its natural and cultural landscape.

“The mission of Bonnet Springs Park is to enrich our community through nature, culture, recreation, and education,” its website states. “Our Park serves to unify the city’s diverse population, offering public spaces that serve the needs of many by providing engaging and diverse opportunities in education and recreation to residents and visitors.”

Becky Ault, nationally renowned artist from Art Research Enterprises, Inc., was commissioned by Platform Art to manage the design process and fabricate the sculpture. Platform’s unique program includes a student design competition specific to Polk County high school art classes.   

This year, Platform selected All Saints Academy’s NuVu Studios for the project. Ms. Ault conducted workshop critiques with teams of students to develop concept designs representing one of the five senses.  The Platform Art Sound Wall, designed by Laura Prazdnicane and Jiayun “Lucy” Zhang, was selected by a panel of judges to be further developed and fabricated by Ms. Ault.

All Saint’s NuVu Innovation Studio, a revolutionary STEM program that originated from Boston, engages students to utilize their scientific and creative skills to help create innovative solutions to problems.

“NuVu is a full-time innovation school for middle and high school students,” their website states. “NuVu’s pedagogy is based on the architectural Studio model and geared around multi-disciplinary, collaborative projects. We teach students how to navigate the messiness of the creative process, from inception to completion by prototyping and testing.”

“Former principal, Carolyn Baldwin, and the NuVu faculty were uniquely positioned to partner with Platform Art for this project,” explained Cynthia Haffey, Executive Director of Platform Art, Inc. “Their existing relationships with Sasaki Landscape Architecture in Boston, and Bonnet Springs Park contributed to the collaboration, engagement and communications throughout the design process,” 

“The Sound Wall is an elegantly designed sculpture,” she continued. “Its’ spiral, serpentine wall, integrated into the landscape, indirectly references a treble clef symbol. The polished stainless decorative attachments suspended above the wall are highly reflective, and provide negative space to see through the work. The visual effects are surprising, encouraging viewers to spend time with the art in their discovery process.”

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